Guest: William Donahue, Carl Bernstein, Tommy Franks
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, the battle for Fallujah intensifies. The “Real Deal,” getting rid of the terrorists inside that city is essential to stabilize Iraq.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RET. GEN. TOMMY FRANKS, FORMER CENTCOM COMMANDER: I think our enemies tonight are well armed. I think we will see improved explosives in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: General Tommy Franks enters SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight and he is going to give us the straight talk on Fallujah, urban warfare and the road ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAUREEN DOWD, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: I think the evangelicals think they are in a holy war. They ran a brilliant and ruthless campaign based on division, and I think that is how they are going to run the company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Maureen, Maureen. Religion-baiting. The elite media has declared open season on the president and his supporters in the wake of John Kerry‘s defeat.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to the show.
I thought I had sign it all, but I haven‘t, because a nasty streak of religious intolerance is rearing its ugly head in America and it is coming from America‘s cultural elites in a way I have never seen before in my lifetime. It is time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, the election of George W. Bush has exposed an ugly anti-Christian streak in many of those who work in America‘s most powerful newsrooms. A flood of vicious opinion pieces over the past few days have generalized Christians who helped elect the president as basically a group of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals whose aims are nothing less than anti-American.
Not surprisingly, some of the most offensive and, yes, bigoted rhetoric came from the opinion pages of “The New York Times,” a paper that at one time embraced diversity of thought and belief. But, apparently, those positions of convenience are closeted away when it comes time to opine on conservative Christians, because the day after George Bush‘s victory, “The New York Times” ran an op-ed by famed historian Gary Wills, a guy who I have long respected.
Wills questions whether a people who believe in the virgin birth of Jesus can be called an enlightened nation. Wills also suggested that because those Christians who helped elect George W. Bush were evangelicals, America now shares more in common with al Qaeda and Saddam Sunni loyalists than modern Europe.
This is what he wrote in “The Times”—quote—“Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.”
So, according to “The Times”‘ op-ed page, if you believe in the Bible‘s account of Jesus Christ‘s birth, you are on par with terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11. You can strip it down any way you want—and I encourage you to read it on the “New York Times” Web site—but that‘s what lies at the base of Gary Will‘s jihad argument.
Now, Thomas Friedman, long one of my favorite columnists on all matters foreign—this guy is indispensable—he actually concluded that Mr. Bush was elected by Christians who were hell-bent on legislating social issues and—quote—“extending the boundaries of religion so hard that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution and not electing a president.”
Rewriting the Constitution? Just because George Bush carried Ohio by 100,000 votes? Now, you talk about one of our most gifted writers losing all perspective. It is distressing.
Meanwhile, “The Washington Post”‘s E.J. Dionne swung so wildly at windmills that he blasted away at—quote—“the exploitation of strong religious feeling” and—quote—“the radical efforts to destroy the achievements of progressive government.”
George Bush and Christian radicals want to destroy American government? Oh, really? I guess I missed the debate when W. laid out that plan of attack. And, of course, Michael Moore blasted the president for pandering to Christian conservatives—that is a new one, Michael—while Maureen Dowd accused Mr. Bush of taking America—quote—“into another Dark Age, where we replace science with religion and facts with faith.”
The Pulitzer Prize winner concluded that—quote—“The new evangelicals challenge science because they have been stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of the society‘s most vulnerable, the poor, sick, the sexually different.” Maureen Dowd also accused the president of running—quote—“a jihad along the fault lines of fear, ignorance and religious rule.”
Now, never in my life as a practicing attorney, as a newspaper publisher, as congressman or as a TV news host have I witnessed America‘s cultural elite becoming so unglued over any historical event, not even 9/11. And the most distressing part of the fact is that these opinion leaders are singling out a group of Americans for no other reason—no other reason—than the God they worship and the faith they share.
To paint all conservative Christians as angry, hate-filled, science-loathing, right-wing beasts only helps explain why the mainstream media continues to lose market share and why those Democrats who take solace in their bigoted anti-Christian screeds will remain out of power for another four years.
It leads me to wonder, can we only be good Americans if we turn our backs on our faith or become champions of abortion on demand or stem cell research without reservation or we accept marriage defined in a way that conflicts with the spiritual beliefs of the majority of Americans? Isn‘t it interesting that when pluralism and diversity of thought become politically inconvenient, it is the cultural and media elites these days who have become the most close-minded and bigoted? It is sad, but it is tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
We are going to be talking about that a lot more.
But right now, the battle for Fallujah is raging on. And Iraqi and American troops are trying to free the region from insurgents. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said this earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: You can not have a country that is free and democratic and respectful of all the people in the country if you have safe havens for people who go around chopping people‘s heads off. You can‘t have a country if that‘s the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Right after Rummy‘s press conference, I spoke to retired General Tommy Franks, who of course details incredible behind-the-scenes accounts of the war on terror in his book “American Soldier,” a must-read.
Now, there were reports over the weekend that the troops preparing to liberate Fallujah spent a great deal of time praying, reading the Bible and singing religious songs together. I know “The New York Times” clearly doesn‘t get it, but I asked General Franks if he does.
FRANKS: I have told a lot of people I never met an atheist on a battlefield.
You know, young men and women who are about to enter battle sit there and they think about things. They think about their families. They think about their buddies. They think about their faith. And it is a very, very interesting thing, but I would not expect that we will have very many of our young people engage in this battle to include Fallujah that, as we are seeing right now, who are not going to their God in a very introspective way.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, speaking of “The New York Times,” your name was brought up for the post of national intelligence director.
William Safire wrote this: “In the war on terror, a new job will be created atop the intelligence world during the lame-duck session. National intelligence director, here‘s mentioning the shockingly awesome retired General Tommy Franks.”
General, I just wanted to ask, have you been contacted by the White House and would you consider accepting the position of national intelligence director?
FRANKS: Joe, I have not been contacted by the White House. And I really don‘t think there‘s a place for an old retired guy like me.
I said jokingly to my wife the other day—we were talking about things like this—and I said, well, you know, honey, I gave at the office. So, I don‘t think there‘s a political future for us. But I‘m honored by what Safire said. One of my friends mentioned that to me earlier. I think it is kind of cute.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, right now, I know a lot of people would really want you to get back involved in public service. You certainly have already given at the office.
But, again, talking about who is giving at the office right now, the eyes of the world tonight are on Fallujah.
SCARBOROUGH: American troops are sure to suffer casualties taking on this terrorist stronghold.
I want to ask you a tough question, General. Did our leaders make a terrible mistake retreating from Fallujah this past spring and turning it over essentially to the terrorists and the former Baathist thugs that ran Saddam Hussein‘s dictatorship?
FRANKS: I don‘t think so, Joe, because I think that there are—it reminds me of the old radio show. There are a lot of stories in the big city. I think there have been a lot of stories in Iraq.
I think, if you think back to a time in April when we were engaged with our Marines in Fallujah before, there was a dynamic in Iraq that had not yet taken place, and that is Prime Minister Allawi having been named. Back at that time, we were dealing with a group of 25 people who were trying to sort of fathom the future of Iraq and who should go where and what should the military work be in that country.
And so there was enough uncertainty at that time that I actually believed then and I believe today that a wise decision was to cordon that city of Fallujah, pay attention to it, to let our intelligence people work, and I believe, as we see the story of Fallujah unfold today, we will see the fruits of our labors as we did that. The intelligence will, if not be perfect, it will be better.
The specific objectives, the tactical objectives of those troopers on the ground, to include the Iraqis, as they go into Fallujah will be much more sound than our objectives would have been last April. And so, I thought it was the correct approach then and I believe we will see the results of that approach as we watch Fallujah unfold now.
SCARBOROUGH: So, how ugly do you think it is going to be for our troops as they go into Fallujah and how well armed are our enemies tonight?
I think our enemies tonight are well armed. I think we will see improved explosives in there. I think we will see lots and lots of light machine gun-type weapons. I think we‘ll rocket-propelled grenades. I think we will see some suicide bombers. But I also suspect that our commanders on the ground, John Abizaid, George Casey, and all those young men and women who are going to be doing the hard work, are pretty thoughtful people.
And I suspect there will be a surprise or two headed in the direction of the terrorists as all this unfolds.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, going back to the presidential election, you came out front, supported George Bush, and you said that fighting in Iraq was like a multiple choice test.
FRANKS: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: And this is something that you also brought up in the become. You either fight the war in terror over there or you fight the war in terror in the streets of America. Do you think in the end that your logic is ultimately what sold American voters on the president‘s Iraq policy, that they would rather fight the war on terror over there than fight it in the streets of America?
FRANKS: Joe, I think that‘s part of it.
And I think the thing that—I think the thing that caused more than anything else the vote to go the way it went was respect for the leadership that they see in George W. Bush. A lot of people have asked me over the last, oh, four or five months, why did you become visible in supporting George Bush? And I said, it is all about leadership.
It is about taking a decision and staying with that decision, being able to look American families directly in the eye and say this is not easy. It will not be easy. We entered a new era in our country on 11 September, 2001, and at every step along the way, we have seen George W. Bush willing to take the fight wherever the fight needed to be taken.
It isn‘t that I think Americans wouldn‘t rather not be involved in a war. All of us who have sons and daughters and grandkids involved in this thing would rather have them right here at home. There is no question about that. But we have a long history in this country of doing what we need to do in order to guarantee the future for those who follow us.
I believe this is an example of that. And I think the thing that swung the vote in this country, at the end of the day, America looked into the eyes of the two candidates and said, where am I going to get the best leadership? They settled on George Bush.
SCARBOROUGH: General, I remember back serving on the Armed Services Committee in 1995, Bill Clinton brought people up to Capitol Hill, told us that our troops were going to be Bosnia for one year. Of course, he was about 10 years off.
How long should Americans expect their troops to be fighting in Iraq and fighting the type of war that they are fighting right now?
FRANKS: Tough call, Joe. Time will tell. But I suspect at—when we saw the cease-fire in Korea back in the mid-1950s, there would have been some pundits back then who said, well, all right, we now have this stabilized so we will see all the Americans come home.
And you know as well as I do that, all these years later and 37,000 Americans still committed in South Korea represent, you know, a state of truth. That‘s what we see. I think that what we—I think what we should expect to see, rather than looking at total numbers of troops involved in Iraq or in Afghanistan, for that matter, is to see what the trend looks like. Let‘s see what the trends look like in six months.
What does the trend look like in a year, 18 months? I have told many people I suspect we will have Americans committed in one way or another in both Afghanistan and Iraq and potentially in other places for the foreseeable future. That doesn‘t mean that I think we will see 140,000 or 150,000 American troops committed in Iraq. I think we will see the numbers come down, but I don‘t think we should put a point on a calendar and say, by this point, we will have only this number of troops left, because I think there‘s too much certainty involved in the evolution of a society toward democracy, and that‘s what we have to stand behind in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
SCARBOROUGH: General Tommy Franks, author of “American Soldier,” thanks for being with us again tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. It is a great honor, always.
FRANKS: Joe, my honor. Thanks a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up, Americans choose values as their most important issue last Tuesday. And they affirmed that they wanted a religious man this office. Does that make him ignorant? Well, the elite media seems to think so.
And we are going to tell you all about that and how it is going to affect politics over the next few years coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Man, you could really understand if Senator Kerry took his defeat hard, but the elite media, they are taking it even harder. And they are stooping to religious baiting. We are going to tell you about some of the outrageous things they are saying and what it means to you and your politicians coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
When will the religious baiting end? You know, a record number of Americans voted for President Bush and voted him into a second term in office, yet the elite media and some bomb throwers on the left are feverishly trying to explain away the president‘s victory, citing ignorance and a growing evangelical wing in America.
Let‘s take a look at a heated exchange from Friday night‘s “Real Time on HBO” between the host, Bill Maher, and Alan Simpson, the former moderate Republican senator from Wyoming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”)
BILL MAHER, HOST: Well, the Christian right happens to be hijacking this country. Excuse me.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ALAN SIMPSON ®, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, there is a wonderful stereotype. That‘s a beautiful stereotype. That‘s a beautiful stereotype.
MAHER: I don‘t think that is what the founding fathers had in mind.
MAHER: Do you?
SIMPSON: What is your definition of it all? They don‘t come in at a very positive definition as the—quote—“Christian right,” do they? Who are they?
MAHER: But I‘m entitled to that opinion, to favor science...
SIMPSON: Yes. And so am I.
MAHER: Am I not entitled to the opinion that science should have precedence over faith, that rationality should have precedence over belief this Jesus, that the Constitution is more important than the Bible, at least as far as running a government goes? Is that...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SIMPSON: Well, that‘s your opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what. There is such hostility out there.
It is unbelievable.
With me now, Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst and author of “Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency,” and the president of the Catholic League, William Donahue. We have got Howard Fineman of “Newsweek,” and Carl Bernstein, author of “His Holiness John Paul II and the History of Our Time.”
Now, Pat Buchanan, I know you heard the “Real Deal” that I spoke of tonight. You have been reading these columns over the past five or six days, since George W. Bush has been elected.
I thought I could not be shocked by what the mainstream media and elitists write about Catholics, about Orthodox Jews, about evangelical Christians. But I have been absolutely stunned at the level of hostility toward these religious people that voted for George Bush. Explain to America what is going on.
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they just—they came thundering out of the closet after the election, Joe.
Here‘s what happened. Look, it is a very simple thing. A year ago, the Supreme Court declared homosexual sodomy to be a constitutional right. Then the dingbat judge up in Massachusetts said the governor and legislature have to start handing out marriage licenses to homosexuals, although there‘s nothing like that in the Constitution.
Then the mayor of San Francisco starts handing them out. And people see 3,000 homosexuals kissing on national television. So Christian conservative America went to the polls and put this issue on the ballot in 13 states and won thumping victories in a democratic election in every single one.
What in heaven‘s name did these liberals expect? There‘s nothing going on here but people standing up for their right to define democratically and freely the kind of society in which they wish to live.
SCARBOROUGH: Howard Fineman, is that what happened?
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, pretty much.
I spent a lot of time in Ohio, and I went to some precincts in the Canton, Ohio, area. And I followed it through the election. And that precinct had a big vote and a lot of it to George Bush. And one of the reasons it did actually was a local matter concerning an X-rated video store in the neighborhood. And the neighborhood had organized to kick that X-rated video store out.
And all of these middle-class, middle-of-the-road Ohioans were up in arms about that more than anything. And I think a lot of what this is about is not specifically a homosexual rights measure somewhere. It is a sense of being besieged and under assault by a lot of the so-called mainstream culture of America. And I think a lot of Republicans and conservatives are standing to athwart that particular trend in history and shouting no.
SCARBOROUGH: Howard Fineman, I want to follow up on that, because you make a great point here. I don‘t think it is all about homosexual rights. Personally, myself, I was against a constitutional amendment. I think there are a lot of people out there that believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ who also drink vodka.
I think there are other people out there who believe that the Bible is a literal word of God and they watch ABC shows about desperate housewives. Don‘t you think that the mainstream media that I‘m quoting are overgeneralizing about what is going on out there, that it is not just about gay rights or stem cell research or abortion, that it is much more general than that, that it is more of a society under attack culturally?
FINEMAN: Yes, I think so. I think so.
And I have to get outside the beltway to do my job. I travel the country. I also had—as an inside-the-beltway guy, had the virtue of working in Kentucky for five years in the middle of the Bible belt. And even then, years ago, when I was there, there were social changes going on that disturbed people and they clung to their church and their faith as an anchor in difficult, confusing times.
And I think that is still the case. And I think that is a large part of what George Bush‘s appeal was about, a sense of solidity and strength and certainty in a culturally confusing time. And that is something that a lot of Democrats just don‘t get. They just do not get it.
SCARBOROUGH: Bill Donahue, I‘ll tell you something that I don‘t get. I don‘t get a column that Gary Wills, who is of course a liberal writer now and he‘s a history professor at Northwestern University.
Listen to this. He said: “Can a people that believe more fervently in the virgin birth than in evolution still be called an enlightened nation? In fact, we resemble modern Europe less than we do our putative enemies in the Muslim world and al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein‘s Sunni loyalists.
Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so
single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no
matter whose zeal is being expressed”
And again, Bill, I have read several of Gary Wills‘ books. I have always found him to be an intelligent man. But after the election, he has written a piece that says, if you believe in the virgin birth, you are ideologically on par with al Qaeda. Is that not religious bigotry at its most base form?
WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Well, it is.
And we at the Catholic League have been able to document dozens of this over the last week. Gary Wills is a bright. He‘s also a very embittered ex-seminarian who rejects the teachings of the Catholic Church on almost every single major teaching that the Catholic Church has to broach.
But it is not just Gary Wills. It‘s Tom Friedman. It‘s Paul Krugman. It‘s DeWayne Wickham in today‘s “USA Today.” It‘s Maureen Dowd. It‘s Sean Wilentz over at Princeton University, Sidney Blumenthal. I could go on and on and on about it.
SCARBOROUGH: Is this unprecedented?
DONAHUE: Well, it is in terms of such a short spurt.
Look, Howard Fineman is a man of reason. What you just heard him say
was good analysis. You didn‘t get good analysis from these people. They
are angry and they think that people like myself, who—I‘m just a regular
practicing Catholic—are somehow a threat to this country. How many
times—look at the Catholic League Web site—have we documented these
people saying that we live in a theocracy, that Bush has unleashed a jihad,
that we have Christian fundamentalists running the country, that the
American Taliban are now a bunch of Catholics and Protestants/
This is not the voice sanity. This is the voice of insanity. And they can go ahead and call us all the names they want. Sure, there are extremists amongst Catholics and Protestants. Those creeps have nothing to do with most people in this country. But the fact of the matter is, to label people of faith—remember, you know, 41 percent of Americans go to church or synagogue or mosque on a regular basis. They make up 61 percent of the electorate.
What are we, all a bunch of homophobic people out to hang people in the street?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Bill Donahue, if you actually—if you read a lot of the editorials over the past week, yes, we are, according to some of these conclusions.
I want you all of you to stick around. We are going to talk a lot more about this. We are going to be talking to Carl Bernstein also, and talking about how members of the elite media are not the only ones attacking religious Americans. Entertainers like Michael Moore and even politicians are beating the drum. We are going to be talking about that with “Vanity Fair”‘s Carl Bernstein in just a minute.
So stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: “The New York Times”‘s most famed writer said that George W. Bush has launched a jihad against America.
We will tell you all about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to the show. I‘m here with my all-star panel, Pat Buchanan, Bill Donahue, Howard Fineman and Carl Bernstein of “Vanity Fair.”
I want to start with taking a look at what Maureen Dowd wrote in “The New York Times” yesterday. She said—quote—“W. s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We‘re entering another Dark Age, more creationist than cutting edge—crabbed insecurities, the disparaging of each other, the fear of those godless hedonists in the blue states out to get them and their families, and the fear of scientific progress, as with stem cell research. The new evangelicals challenge science because they‘ve been stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of society‘s most vulnerable, the poor, the sick, the sexually different.”
Carl Bernstein, is that really how people on the Upper Side West of Manhattan and in Los Angeles view those of us in middle America?
CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST: I‘m a reporter. I spend an awful lot of time between the two coasts. And I think that this whole discussion has been put in a really unfortunate box about liberal, about religious...
SCARBOROUGH: You always say that.
BERNSTEIN: I do. I do.
SCARBOROUGH: No, you always say that.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m not going to allow you to say that tonight, Carl, because there have been specific attacks.
BERNSTEIN: Well, let me finish.
SCARBOROUGH: Maureen Dowd says that George Bush has launched a jihad against America. Is that true or false?
BERNSTEIN: That is a columnist using hyperbole. But the rest of that quote that you just put up there, I think, one, there‘s a lot of truth in it. But the whole discussion—look, George Bush...
SCARBOROUGH: What part? What part is true?
BERNSTEIN: What part is true? The fact...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, what is true.
BERNSTEIN: The fact that indeed we have a minority religious group who want to impose their religious values on a secular country that has separation of church and state, and that they have huge influence with this president, and that they were very influential.
But I want to get back to a couple things.
SCARBOROUGH: What views? What views?
BERNSTEIN: Wait a minute; 52 percent of the Catholics voted...
SCARBOROUGH: What views, Carl?
BERNSTEIN: Let me finish. What views?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, no, no, no, you just made a statement. You said that they want to impose a narrow set of views. What views?
BERNSTEIN: First of all, let‘s say who they are. They are not all Catholics. They are not all fundamentalists. They are not all evangelicals. They are some of the above.
And to paint with this broad brush is really unfair to fact.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. No, no, but what are the views?
BERNSTEIN: And the views are, indeed, that gay marriage, for instance, is a subject that ought to be legislated by a constitutional amendment, that women do not have control of their bodies, that Roe vs. Wade ought to be overturned. These—we have a secular nation.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. I‘m sorry, Carl, but I cannot allow you to say that a narrow...
BERNSTEIN: I didn‘t use the word narrow.
SCARBOROUGH: That a narrow group of people are opposed to gay marriage. Now, let me tell you something.
BERNSTEIN: No, to the contrary. Whoa.
SCARBOROUGH: Carl, this is the mistake that people make, though, OK?
BERNSTEIN: Joe, most people are opposed to gay marriage. You are not wrong about that. You are not wrong about that.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. But what you are saying, though, is that a small subset of people are trying to take over the government, when you and I both know...
BERNSTEIN: You are putting words in my mouth.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I‘m not.
BERNSTEIN: I said nothing about...
SCARBOROUGH: Look at a transcript tomorrow. You are saying that small groups of people are trying to take over the country.
BERNSTEIN: I did not say try to take—I will look at the...
SCARBOROUGH: You said a minority. Did you not say a small religious minority?
BERNSTEIN: Whoa, Joe, Joe, Joe, quit screaming.
SCARBOROUGH: Did you not say that? Did you not say that? Did you not say that?
BERNSTEIN: I said a small—I said a minority want to impose their views. I didn‘t say they want to take over the government. There is a big difference.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Let‘s take these issues, OK?
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: So, gay marriage, is that a minority or a majority?
BERNSTEIN: A majority of the people apparently oppose gay marriage, but they don‘t—but they are not...
SCARBOROUGH: What about abortion?
BERNSTEIN: Whoa. Whoa. They are not for a constitutional amendment, which the president..
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m not either.
What about abortion?
BERNSTEIN: What about abortion?
SCARBOROUGH: Is that a small minority opposed to abortion?
BERNSTEIN: I believe that, again...
SCARBOROUGH: It is about 50/50.
BERNSTEIN: No, I don‘t think the figures are 50/50.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. They are pretty close to 50/50.
BERNSTEIN: But, again, if—the courts have made a decision about what kind of country we are. The Supreme Court of the United States made that decision. And now there are people who want to see that Supreme Court decision overturned, again, to impose theological values. That‘s all I‘m saying, that...
SCARBOROUGH: That happens on both sides, Carl. That‘s all I‘m saying.
SCARBOROUGH: There are people that support pro-choice positions. There are people that support pro-life positions. I thought, in America, that‘s what American democracy was about. That is what pluralism was about, that you had people that were able to debate on both sides and disagree without being attacked as savage Neanderthals.
BERNSTEIN: I didn‘t call anybody a savage Neanderthals.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m not talking about you. I‘m talking about—listen, Carl...
SCARBOROUGH: You‘ve read these editorials that I‘ve read.
BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. And I...
SCARBOROUGH: The hyperbole is at a record level right now. It‘s dangerous.
BERNSTEIN: I think that what is dangerous is gay bashing. And there‘s an awful lot of that going on right now.
I think that what is dangerous is that we are fighting a war against fundamentalism that we must win, and if we become fundamentalist and try to establish theocratic values in our own country while trying to fight fundamentalist Muslim people who want to kill us, I think that is a terrible thing. And I think...
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan. Let me bring in Pat Buchanan here.
BERNSTEIN: Pat might even agree with me.
SCARBOROUGH: Because, Pat, here‘s my point, all right? There is such an overgeneralization. So many people on both coasts in the mainstream media, the people that, let‘s face it, control the majority of the media, control Hollywood, they try to oversimplify it.
Take me, for instance. I‘m more libertarian than conservative. I supported George W. Bush, but I don‘t want federal judges telling me what marriages people in Florida should accept. As far as gay marriage, if somebody in Vermont wants to get married and they are gay, I don‘t care. That is up to Vermont. But I don‘t want a judge in Vermont telling me in Florida to accept that. Just like abortion, OK?
If I‘m pro-life, that‘s fine. I can be pro-life. You can be pro-choice. We can debate it. May the best man, best woman win. Again, I thought that is what America was about. I thought that is what being a pluralistic nation was about. But I read these articles in “The New York Times” and all these bastions of liberalism and there is this open hostility to free thought and free thinking, is there not?
BUCHANAN: Well, look, let me say, in terms of what Carl said, there is no question that there is a profound religious moral cultural divide in this country.
For example, one part of America believes an unborn child is a human being with a soul and a right to life and whose right cannot be destroyed, and that it is deliberate killing of an unborn, and it is an outrage, and government has an obligation to protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn.
The other side says, look, this is a woman‘s decision, that abortion is the greatest act of freeing of women, of liberation of women in our history, this is wonderful and good thing.
These are irreconcilable positions rooted in faith and belief and I believe in science. I believe science says life begins at conception. However Joe, what we have got to figure out is how we live together as a nation and a people when we have these irreconcilable differences about right and wrong and the morality and immorality of homosexuality.
My view is, we have got to stop having judges ordering all-or-nothing solution, imposing their views on one side or theirs on the other. The way to settle them is as you suggest. Look, if the state of—if Massachusetts‘ legislature said, look, we think we want civil unions and some benefits and the governor says yes or no and they decide it that way and it doesn‘t affect me down here in Virginia, the American people will accept that.
What they don‘t accept and what outrages them is to have a Supreme Court get up and say, all of a sudden, James Madison really believed that homosexual sodomy was a constitutional right, when that is utter nonsense.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, I will tell you what upsets me.
What upsets me is the oversimplification, again, the painting in broad brushes that it always seems that mainstream media elitists seem to do for those of us in middle America. Again, I‘m a pretty progressive guy. Again...
BUCHANAN: I‘m not.
SCARBOROUGH: ... what I watch on TV...
SCARBOROUGH: And I know. You are not. And, again, the thing is, though, it is so offensive to me that you have these people that, again, over the past week, have been saying the only reason George W. Bush got elected was because cavemen like Joe Scarborough went out to the voting booth and voted for Bush.
BUCHANAN: I‘ve got to admit it. I‘m enjoying every minute of it.
BUCHANAN: .... Maureen Dowd. Aren‘t you enjoying Maureen‘s anguish?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I must tell you, I always love reading Maureen Dowd. I have been a little bit concerned over the past week, but we will talk about that in a little bit.
And I‘ll tell you what. I also—seriously, when we come back, I am also going to talk to Howard Fineman and I‘m going to see if there‘s a grain of truth, if there is seed of truth to all of this, because Howard has written about George Bush and his faith. He has followed this guy since he has been in the Texas governor‘s mansion. He knows what drives George W. Bush. And he followed him as closely on this campaign as anybody. I‘m going to ask Howard Fineman if Maureen Dowd and these others accusing him of conducting this religious jihad have a point at all.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a second.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re back with our panel.
Howard Fineman, I‘m here in my library. I‘m looking around. And I‘m reading—I have got books, Hunter S. Thompson, Gore Vidal. I‘ve got Roy Jenkins. Thomas Friedman—I just—I‘m not threatened by ideas. I‘m a pluralistic type of guy. But when you have Thomas Friedman writing that the election last week in effect equaled a constitutional crisis, then it seems to me that Friedman and these other people weren‘t reporting on the same campaign that I was following.
You were out there. Did George W. Bush do anything radically different in 2004 than he did in 2000?
FINEMAN: Joe, you are saying you actually read? I mean, I think it‘s a shocking revelation.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, actually, one time—I won‘t say the “TIME” reporter that once said—but there was a reporter on “TIME” magazine one time when Newt Gingrich left office, and he said Gingrich, unlike other Republicans, actually read books.
SCARBOROUGH: We are going to miss him.
But, no, no, no. What‘s the difference between the Bush 2004 jihad election and what he did in 2000?
FINEMAN: Well, I guess, to be somewhat cynical, the difference is that he was much more successful at it this time. And that got a lot of people angry.
FINEMAN: Look, I agree with you about the stereotyping. I think it is obnoxious. And it‘s bad when it happens all the way around.
And I also think this is a big pluralistic country that I have been covering for a long time. And I have heard these hysterical warnings on both sides for years and years and years. And I actually think that the clash of ideas in the arena is all in all a really good thing for the country.
I think what Maureen and others are saying—and Maureen is great. She is a terrific person and a brilliant writer. What she is worried about, I think, and what a lot of other blue state thinkers are worried about is the notion that judges will be picked solely on the basis of whether, secretly, if not openly, they want to ban all abortion, that certain segments of the conservative movement will not rest until they somehow try to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortion, that would define constitutionally and nationally marriage as solely that between a man and woman.
FINEMAN: They don‘t want to accept your sweet reasonableness and Pat Buchanan‘s devotion to states‘ rights, and that‘s what they‘re worried about.
SCARBOROUGH: Carl Bernstein, though, we have been going through this for 226 years.
BERNSTEIN: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: This is nothing new. We get we‘ve got checks and balances. We have got senators that can stop this. We have got an incoming Republican chairman of the Judiciary that saying basically he is going to have a litmus test on Roe v. Wade. That is what American democracy is about. Why the panic now?
BERNSTEIN: First of all, I think that you have got to look at these election results a little differently than we have characterized them.
The country is divided down the middle, basically. And the idea that only George Bush got religious votes is crazy. Bill Clinton won probably a majority of so-called or a plu—I can‘t even say it—plurality of religious votes, that nobody has got a lock on religion. What this debate is about is the Constitution of the United States and the evolution of the United States as a country with a separation of church and state.
That‘s what Maureen Dowd is writing about. Nobody is writing about the fact that people don‘t have a right to believe what they believe. And that‘s not what this is about.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BERNSTEIN: This is a question of whether theological values are going to trump secular constitutional values. That‘s all, and whether the president gives in.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Pat, Bill, Howard, Carl, as always, thanks for being with us tonight.
Carl, I thought I owed you the last word, even if I disagreed with you.
But stick around. We have got a lot more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead. We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, I want to thank you for watching the show tonight.
And make sure you stick around tomorrow morning. My good buddy Imus has some great guests for you tomorrow morning, including Senator Zell Miller. Don‘t miss that one. He could challenge somebody else to a duel.
And you can also go to my Web site. I am blogging every day. And who knows. Maybe my blog tomorrow will be, vote for my candidate or you are going straight to hell. Probably not, because I am a pluralistic, nice kind of guy.
That‘s it for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Have a great night. We‘ll see you tomorrow.
And, hey, by the way, don‘t give in to hate.
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